Saturday, July 3, 2010


"We are helpless"

So explained my just turned 11 years old daughter this morning as we studied our way through Romans chapter 1 - 6 this morning.

This week my girls requested me to forgo our current study of Pilgrim's Progress to revisit our previous study of Romans. To once again consider the gospel as presented especially in those first six chapters.

An outline of our conversation went something like this:

Rom 1:16 as a key verse for the whole of Romans - The gospel of Christ of which Paul by the Holy Spirit of God says he is not ashamed is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.

Rom 1:1-4 Observing that Paul is separated unto the Gospel. The gospel long proclaimed even before by his Holy Apostles in the HOLY SCRIPTURES.

Which Gospel is "CONCERNING" his son Jesus Christ. We made observation that this word "concerning" means "ABOUT" it's all about CHRIST. We also noted that the Greek word PERI from where we get the English word perimeter teaches us that like the perimeter of the circle - the gospel is all around, all about Christ. The gospel is about JESUS, who he is and what he has done.

And immediately in the next verses we learn that Jesus Christ is of the seed of DAVID according to the FLESH and declared to be the SON OF GOD with power. 1Tim 3:16 God manifest in the flesh.

Going on we rehearsed our keywords from each of the first six chapters of Romans.

Rom 1:20 Everyone is WITHOUT EXCUSE for creation evidences a creator. We can see that GOD IS and if GOD IS then HE is to be worshiped.

And if we would know that GOD IS we should live in obedience to him. IF we have within in us some knowledge of right and wrong, a sense of RULE that must be obeyed we know also that it must be obeyed perfectly in all its parts. Rom 2:13 it is not the hearers but the DOERS of the Law that are justified or declared right by and with GOD.

But from Romans 3:10 we see that there is NONE RIGHTEOUS. And Rom 3:23 ALL have sinned. We cannot but conclude from our condition and plight that the only means to be justified is by FAITH and not by the works of the law. Rom 3:28.

AGAIN - what does the scriptures say. Rom 4:3 reminds us - that Abraham believed GOD it was counted to him for/unto righteousness. (greek word "eis" meaning unto or into) Faith is the instrument by which Abraham was imputed as righteous. Not works but Faith.

And we can gain great hope for this was not written for just Abraham but for us also to whom it shall be imputed if we believe on him who raised up Christ our Lord from the dead. Rom 4:22-25.

But how can this work?

How can God consider the righteousness of another as mine? How can the atoning work or Christ be done in my place, and how can his perfect law-keeping righteousness be imputed to me?

Which answer we find in Romans Chapter Five where we read of the REPRESENTATION or HEADSHIP of Jesus Christ on behalf of those that are in him.

Rom 5:12 See how the judgement or consequence of what Adam has done has fallen upon us all, in fact upon the whole world. Death passed upon all men. We are culpable in Adam, because we were in ADAM as he STOOD IN THE GARDEN in the form of a public representative of all that were in HIM. What Adam did he did on behalf of all that were in him. When ADAM fell, all fell in HIM. In ADAM ALL DIE.

Rom 5:14 As is evident all around --- the result of Adam's fall, know also that ADAM in this representative nature was a FIGURE or TYPE of HIM THAT WAS TO COME. HE was a figure of CHRIST. Christ, the second Adam, holding a representative office for his people. So that what Jesus did he did on behalf of all that were in HIM.

We read in Genesis, God's words to Adam: In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. He ate and Death passed upon all. We could also read "and in the not eating thereof you will live." Christ obeyed where Adam disobeyed.

Rom 5:19 For AS by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, SO by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

We especially concentrated here upon those two little words: AS and SO

What does the word "AS" mean we thought. It means in similar fashion, in LIKE manner with Adam as a representative so also CHRIST. The results are quite opposite but there is a similarity in their representative offices. Which office was appointed by GOD.

By Faith in Christ alone we are counted righteousness. We are declared perfectly 100% righteous because our HEAD was this, if we by Faith beleive on the HIM who raised up Christ our Lord from the dead.

AND SO my just-turned-11-years-old daughter says with all seriousness: "We are helpless without God. He is the one who puts his spirit in us. We cannot do this work, he must do it. We are helpless, He changes us." I don't remember ever using that word with my girls but I think she rightly appropriated it today "HELPLESS without GOD." Even for our Faith, God be thanked.

This led me to think deeply about the meaning of faith and to think out loud with my girls this morning. How FAITH, and BELIEVING does speak to our utter dependence and reliance upon God for every good and perfect gift. Even as a baby is so dependent upon parents for food, and bed, and love, and shelter, and changing the diapers - so dependent. We are dependent upon God, Our faith is a dependence, a trusting a relying upon GOD ALONE, Apart from him we are helpless.

[postscript: after discussing the above post my 11 yr old added the comment, "and so I also thank God for making that in my mind."]

** Update - Whitestone has written extensively and clearly on this same topic today in her post entitled:

What I Learned Yesterday In the Chemo Chair click here

Whitestone's article deals with the Heidelberg Catechism and the following question and answer:
Question 12 asks, "According to God's righteous judgment we deserve punishment both in this world and forever after: How then can we escape punishment and return to God's favor?"

Answer 12: God requires that His justice be satisfied. Therefore the claims of His justice must be paid in full, either by ourselves or another.

1 comment:

WhiteStone said...

It seems we are both in Romans today. I love it that you are teaching your children well.